10 Things About Zanzibar
I love traveling to Africa. Many people think that Africa is only about safaris, but there is much more apart from that! With this said, do you know Zanzibar or have you heard of it?
Today I will share some good things and others that are not so much about this destination that I’ve had the opportunity to visit twice. The first time might not count that much. I traveled on leave with some friends and I had the luck of breaking my toe. Unfortunately, we managed to stay only for a day and a half. Yes, we,because all my friends decided to go back home with me. I have to say that we were one for all and all for one!
The second time I was able to enjoy and get to know more. We stayed 7 days at the island and a few more traveling on the mainland! Good to say that any of the pictures have filter. This is how it is… just stunning!
Let’s list them!
Zanzibar is an island at the Indian Ocean, 20 minutes by flight from Dar Es Salam and belongs to Tanzania. The ticket cost us around $50 (at the time) and there were some companies that made the route. You can also hire a private pilot to take you on smaller airplanes. You can also opt going by ferry and it takes around 2 hours. I’ve traveled commercial airlines, smaller planes and by ferry. On both trips, we bought the tickets on arrival at the airport and port, and I believe that going by an airline is ideal. For more information on how to get there, click here.
The island has a varied ethnic mix and most of the population are Muslim. However, there are Catholics and Hindus as well. The local language is Swahili, but many people speak English due to tourism. At no point, while staying at the island, we felt uncomfortable wearing a bikini or any other outfit. As far as we could tell, they are quite used to foreigners. In the other hand, it’s not about the island, but the same has not happened when we were in Dar Es Salam.
The beaches are wonderful, both at the north and south. The first time I’ve been there, we stayed at a resort in the south we discovered on arrival. We had no reservation and it were lucky! The southern beaches do not have much sand, but they are incredible and it is possible to do boat trips to see dolphins. The second time, we stayed in Nungwi, which is located at the northeast of the island and is one of the most famous regions to stay. The photos of the sea speaks for itself!
Hotels and Resorts
Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the first hotel we stayed at the south region. However, the second one was a wonderful boutique hotel called The Zanzibari. One of the good things about Zanzibar is that it’s still a cheap destination compared to other paradise destinations like the Maldives, for example.
In this one, we opted for half board, so we were entitled with breakfast and one more meal. For more tips on where to stay, click here!
It is a perfect place to spend the honeymoon. For the same reason already quoted above, it is cheaper than other destinations. We spent our wedding anniversary there in 2013 and it was perfect. Although our hotel was smaller than many others around, it was very well structured. With that in mind, I believe that in most of them, you don’t even have to leave the hotel to enjoy it. Other than that, they may offer several tour packages.
We made boat trips that took us to the outskirts of the island of Pemba; to see dolphins and also to have lunch at sea. They cleaned the fish in the boat and cooked it there. It was very nice and delicious! We bought our tours from people selling them close to our hotel. You know, we have this problem We don’t always travel with everything on hand (package tour style). We love to explore! In this link, you’ll find more information about tour operators in the region!
Not everything are flowers and unfortunately we went through some unpleasant situations along the way. The route from the city center to the north (or south) of the island is not always smooth. At least on our way from the north to the city – which took about an hour – we were stopped a few times at ‘police barriers’. At each stop, the police would try to extort our driver in some way. Sad but true.
For the reason above I believe that, although it is very expensive to ride a taxi (we paid $80 to go downtown and back), it may be the safest way. We heard many stories of people claiming they were stopped and were also extorted by the police. At the time, we decided to go only once to Stone Town (downtown) to get to know it and, at the other days, we enjoyed them at the hotel and it’s surroundings. At no point we wanted to rent a car, and I believe that even though the taxi was expensive, it was probably cheaper of what a police officer could ask for.
If you go there thinking you’ll get to know his story, it won’t really happen. Unfortunately, there is not much about him there and the house where he was born is not so well preserved. In fact, there isn’t much to see!
At Stone Town, they have an open food fair at the square. Be prepared to spend a bit to try the delicacies. They know we are tourists and the price goes up a few figures! Anyway, it’s worth to try them!
Regardless of having not-so-pleasant situations along the way, I still love Zanzibar and think it’s one of the most beautiful beach destinations I’ve ever been to. Waking up with this view below was amazing!
Has any of you traveled there yet?
Lili is half Peruvian, half Brazilian, a dreamer Pisces kind of girl, curious, life lover and travel addicted! She`s been to 53 countries, loves to explore different cultures and to travel to the most unusual destinations. Currently lives in Finland, is a monthly columnist for the website Brasileiras pelo Mundo (a Brazilian platform of expat women) and founder of Hey, I am Lili. She believes that the most important things in life are to laugh out loud, a good wine and people she loves always around anywhere in this world!